UniWorld Group (advertising company)

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UniWorld Group
FounderByron Lewis
HeadquartersNew York, New York, USA
Area served
Key people
Monique L. Nelson (CEO)
OwnerUWG (51%)
WPP Group (49%)
DivisionsUniWorld Group Advertising
UniWorld Group Healthcare
UniWorld Group Hispanic
UniWorld Films

UniWorld Group, Inc. branded as UWG, is an advertising agency, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York with satellite offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and Dearborn, Michigan.[1] It is the longest-standing multicultural ad agency in the United States, founded in 1969.[2] In 2014, the company rebranded itself as UWG.[3][4][5]

Some of its clients include Ford Motor Company, CVS Pharmacy, Marriott International, U.S. Marine Corps, AT&T, and Burger King.[6][7][8]


UniWorld Group was founded in 1969 by Byron Lewis, who pioneered the concept of multicultural advertising before its potential was widely recognized. One of the company's first achievements was the conception of the marketing campaign for the "Blaxploitation" film, Shaft in 1971. The company was credited for popularizing Shaft (1971 film) by using the rhetoric of black power.[9]

In 1974, the company created a radio soap opera that centered around the post Great Migration and African Americans settling in the north entitled Sounds of The City.[10] The soap opera helped the company earn its first million dollar in gross sales. The company started creating TV commercials in 1975.[11] It's first television advertisements were for Avon, a cosmetic company.[12][13]

In 1997, the company launched Uniworld Entertainment, a production company that developed national TV specials. The company has also handled publicity for films such as A Bronx Tale (1993), Amistad (1997), Boyz 'N the Hood (1991), Glory (1989), Malcolm X (1992), Shaft (1971), Shaft's Big Score (1973), and Shaft in Africa (1973).[14][15][16]

UniWorld has done Burger King’s minority advertising since 1986. In 2000, WPP plc acquired a 49% stake in UniWorld Group for an undisclosed sum.[17][18]

In 2012, Monique Nelson was appointed as the CEO of the company. In 2014, UniWorld Group changed its name to UWG. Some of the notable clients that UWG has served include CVS Pharmacy, Marriott International, U.S. Marine Corps, Gatorade, AT&T, Mars, Incorporated, Amtrak, Smirnoff Vodka, Colgate-Palmolive, and Texaco, Ford.[19][20][21]

Awards and recognition

  • UniWorld Group ranked #16 on the Black Enterprise's Industrial/Service 100s list in 1994.
  • It ranked #1 on 2000's BE's Top 100 Advertising Agencies list with $230 million in sales for 1999.
  • UniWorld Group won three Communications Excellence to Black Audiences (CEBA) awards in 1983.
  • It was named Advertising Agency of the Year by Black Enterprise in 2000.
  • In 2012, it ranked #5 on the Black Enter's 100s Advertising Agencies list, with 2011 revenues of $19 million.
  • In June 2010, the company won an Effie Award for the multimedia 'Real Talk' ad campaign produced for the United States Marine Corps.
  • The company's founder, Byron Lewis was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame by the American Advertising Federation(AAF) in April 2013.
  • In 2014, Black Enterprise listed UWG as the number eight black-owned ad company in the United States.

Further Reading

  • Smith, Jessie (2017-11-27). Encyclopedia of African American Business: Updated and Revised Edition, 2nd Edition [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-4408-5028-8.
  • Dingle, Derek T. (1999-04-26). Black Enterprise Titans of The B.E. 100s: Black CEOs Who Redefined and Conquered American Business. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-31853-8.


  1. "People on the Move: Monique L. Nelson to Take Over for Byron Lewis Sr. at UniWorld Group". adage.com. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  2. Upscale: The Successful Black Magazine. Upscale Communications. 1999.
  3. "UniWorld Group Rebrands as UWG". www.adweek.com. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  4. Tarquinio, J. Alex (2008-11-04). "Office Tenants Flee Manhattan Rents for Brooklyn". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  5. Dougherty, Philip H. (1982-07-30). "ADVERTISING; Uniworld Starts Unit To Create Hispanic Ads". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  6. Staff, The Root. "Top Black Ad Men and Women You Won't See on Mad Men". The Root. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  7. "UniWorld Group wins Amtrak Account". Portada. 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  8. "Minority Owned Advertising Agencies Shut Out on Game Day". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  9. "Agency Brief: Longtime Omnicom executive passes, Pitbull starts a shop with Horizon Media". adage.com. 2019-08-02. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  10. Newcomb, Roger. "FLASHBACK: 'Sounds of the City' Black Radio Soap Opera (1974) - Updated". Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  11. Dougherty, Philip H. (1983-04-14). "ADVERTISING; Uniworld Group Gets A Burger King Account". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  12. "UniWorld: Changing of the guard". amsterdamnews.com. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  13. "WPP announces joint venture with Uniworld | WPP". www.wpp.com. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  14. Elliott, Stuart (1993-12-20). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING -- ADDENDA; Burger King Widens Role for Uniworld". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  15. "UBR Spotlight: UniWorld Group's New CEO Monique Nelson". Black Enterprise. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  16. "UniWorld founder Byron Lewis' Hall of Fame induction to be celebrated at Schomburg". web.archive.org. 2013-08-17. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  17. JOURNAL, Ellen ByronStaff Reporter of THE WALL STREET (2004-03-03). "Questions for… Byron Lewis". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  18. Journal, Sally Goll BeattyStaff Reporter of The Wall Street (1996-11-21). "Black-Owned Agency Retained By Texaco to Bolster Its Image". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  19. "Changes at UniWorld repositions agency for digital age". Black Enterprise. 2014-06-03. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  20. Sampey|June 19, Kathleen; 2000. "WPP Takes Piece of Uniworld Pie". www.adweek.com. Retrieved 2019-12-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  21. Caslin, Yvette. "Advertising maverick Byron Lewis inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2019-12-11.